Rugby league: Kiwis to play Great Britain Lions, Tonga in 2019

The highly-anticipated rematch between the Kiwis and Tonga and the return of the Lions have been confirmed as part of the 2019 international rugby league schedule.

The Kiwis will take on Tonga on June 22 at Mt Smart Stadium in the first match of the new two-tiered Oceania Cup competition.

Pool A teams (New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga) will compete for the Oceania Cup Trophy, while Pool B teams (Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea) compete for promotion into Pool A in 2020.

The last time the two met was a seismic match-up that helped launch the Tonga into the elite of International rugby league, beating host nation NZ 28-22 in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The Kiwi Ferns will play against an unconfirmed opponent in the double header.

Also announced on Tuesday was the return of Great Britain to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time in 13 years.

They'll play two test matches against New Zealand and Tests against Tonga and Papua New Guinea. 

The Lions swept New Zealand 3-0 the last time the two sides met in the UK back in 2007.

NZ will take on Great Britain in a blockbuster triple-header at Eden Park in November, which also features Australia against Tonga and Fiji vs Samoa. 

New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters said he was excited at the prospect of such an action-packed calendar.

"The Kiwis versus Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium will be a blockbuster occasion to kick off a momentous year for International Rugby League fans in New Zealand," he said.

"NZ Rugby League is also delighted to be bringing such an incredible array of matches to NZthat will also benefit the teams throughout the Pacific."

Newshub.